Friday, November 12, 2010

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala

Title: Tell Me a Secret
Author: Holly Cupala
Publisher: HarperTeen
Hardcover, 292 pages
Date Published: June 22, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Tell me a secret, and I'll tell you one…

In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.

In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

It’s difficult to put into words how I feel about Tell Me a Secret. In a way, it is a great book. It’s gripping and emotional; I read it in one sitting, completely unable to put it down. But in other ways, I hated it. I didn’t hate the book as a whole, but I found it more than a little difficult to like almost any characters.

Miranda, Mandy, Rand to most, is this selfish, self-centered, and immature high school senior who gets pregnant and then loses everything. Her sister Xanda died years ago and she has never really dealt with, never really moved on from it – constantly searching for ways to fill the void that Xanda left. Sometimes, I felt for her, I mourned for her loss and understood her behavior, but most of the time I couldn’t understand her problem; how she couldn’t see the poison that was her ‘friend’ Delaney and how her own actions could only be construed as selfish.

Sure, her family isn’t perfect, her mom seems more than a little crazy, but Rand does so many things that I just couldn’t get behind, and she blinds herself to the world around her, ignoring everything and only seeing what she wants to see.

And most of the characters were these horrendously vicious people, or just plain mean. I think I need to have someone to connect with in a book, someone to really enjoy reading in order to love a story, and I didn’t really find that here. There were brief moments when I thought Rand’s dad was going to be the redeeming character of the story, but then he failed me. Just as Rand did, just as Delaney did and Essence, Rand’s ex-best friend, did, and just as Kamran, Rand’s ex-boyfriend and father of the soon-to-be baby, did. The only person that seemed good in any way, was Shelley, Rand’s boss; and maybe Andre, Xanda’s boyfriend and the person her mom blames for the death.

Holly Cupala’s debut novel is a raw and emotional journey of a high school senior dealing with pregnancy, but really, it’s about a dysfunctional family dealing with a death that they choose not to acknowledge. And while I didn’t love Tell Me a Secret, it is nonetheless a seemingly realistic portrayal of teenage pregnancy in the midst of a world crashing down. Other reviewers have shown outpourings of love for this book, so it obviously appeals to many, it just wasn’t for me.

Opening line: It’s tough, living in the shadow of a dead girl. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: “Life is constantly weaving together, and we can look back and see all of the threads. . .We don’t always know why things happen until down the road.” ~ pg. 251
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 
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Melissa said...

Great honest review, Nikki! I've actually wondered about this one, but now I know to keep my expectations low. It's so hard when you can't develop a connection with the characters. Either way, I totally appreciate your honesty! :)

~The Book Pixie said...

I think this is the first review I've read of this book that wasn't entirely positive and I really appreciate your honesty. I understand what you are saying about the characters and it strikes me as I'd probably feel the same way as you. I already own a copy, so I'll still read it. However I know not to pick it up expecting to absolutely love it. But who knows, maybe I will. Only time will tell. Once again, thanks for the great, honest review! :D


Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

So many people seemed to adore this one and I really, really wanted to, but it just didn't happen. I hope that both of you are able to enjoy this more than I did and thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it =)

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